I'm increasingly interested in the understanding of detail when it comes to inner work.
Like everything else in the universe, we’re composed of countless tiny particles. One might think that our awareness doesn’t extend to this level; and under ordinary conditions, of course, it doesn’t. But if we want to feed our being, we need to develop a much finer attention to these particles of our Being.
When I use the word finer, I mean it literally. The attention has to, so to speak, break itself up (although it is no breaking, but rather a unification) into an endless series of tiny points that are each one of them like a star in miniature. So imagine that you’re composed of stars; and that you’re furthermore composed of so many stars that you are, in fact, an entire galaxy.
Sense your Self as this galaxy by thinking not on the scale of our own galaxy, which is far too huge to comprehend, but on the scale of the galaxy of your cells and their molecules. This can be comprehended in a completely new way if I take responsibility for it.
Attention needs to manifest with this level of detail, which is accomplished through the medium of a higher energy which suffuses the body. If you want to, you can call the energy prana, or the Holy Spirit. It’s the animating force. Either way, this fine attention to detail is how I feed my Being.
I can begin to understand that this energy carries different degrees of the vivifying vibration and force according to how it is received, how receptive I am, and planetary and solar conditions. So I participate not just at this finer level of detail; through it, I am introduced to a much larger picture. The organism needs the right kind of food in order to grow into this perception.
In order to understand this, I can use another analogy. If one thinks of the digestive system, it extracts all of the nutritional value that I need from my food on the molecular level, absorbing proteins, vitamins, other nutrients.
My life is much the same way; and my soul feeds on the impressions of my life in the same way that my digestive system feeds on the coarser material of food. It feeds on my life at a molecular level.
In order to understand this better, it's helpful to understand every small thing I encounter as a "molecule" of food. The idea of mindfulness — which is spoken about a great deal but not always very carefully explained — is (if it is practiced with a deep understanding) the idea of a very close and detailed attention to these “molecules,” of each individual and very small impression as I encounter it.
It's possible to turn the attention to this level of detail and engage with one's life on a much smaller scale which, although it may sound contracted and appear not to have the grand scope and drama I expect (even demand) that meaningful things consist of, actually provides far more nutrition for the growth of my Being.
A finer vibration can arise in me and correspond to life in this way.
Do this all day long; but don't talk about it.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.